Ceren, the world that's the home of the city of Barresh, has vast swathes of untamed wilderness, most of it tribal land belonging to meta-human tribes like the Pengali.
For many years, illegal organisations have seen these tribes as inroad into the lucrative gamra economy, abusing the local population with next to no payment, inflicting damage on their society. Sadly, Cory knows far too much about this, having studied Earth's history.
Cory's Pengali worker Ynggi has indicated he'd wanted to visit his home tribe, giving Cory the perfect reason to check out Pengali involvement in smuggling activities.
However, if he thinks Ynggi's Thousand Islands tribe is secretive and hostile, he will soon be corrected in a big way. Another tribe, the Misty Forest tribe, has made hostile overtures to the fiercely independent but peaceful Thousand Island settlements. Someone has been selling these people hostile propaganda. Not just that, they appear to have received some help from off-world and are on a mission to expand their territory by force.
For Cory and his team, an anthropological excursion turns into a battle to leave the forest alive.